The worship of fire is widespread in several ancient religions. Since the Lower Paleolithic, fire has been an essential part of human history. The oldest known traces of controlled fire were seen at the Daughters of Jacob Bridge in Israel, with evidence dating it to over 790,000 years ago.
Religious deities from ancient civilizations are listed below.
In Aztec religion, Chantico, which means she who dwells in the house, is the deity governing the family hearth fires. She broke a fast by eating roasted fish with paprika and was turned into a dog by Tonacatecuhtli as a penalty. She was linked with the cities of Xochimilco, stonecutters, and warriors. Chantico was represented in various Pre-Columbian cultures.
Ogun is a spirit that arises in numerous African religions. He was the first Ooni of Ife after the death of Oduduwa. A soldier and a powerful spirit of metalwork, as well as of rum-making. He is also known as the ‘god of Iron’ and is present in the Yoruba religion, West African Vodun, and Haitian Vodou.
Ra is the ancient Egyptian deity of our sun. By the Fifth Dynasty in the 25th century BCE and 24th century BCE, he had become one of the most prominent gods in early Egyptian religion, identified principally with the noon sun. Ra was believed to govern in all parts of the created world: the earth, the sky, and the underworld. He was the god of the order, kinds, atmosphere, and the sun.
Zhurong is a powerful personage in Chinese folk religion and Chinese mythology. According to the philosophical texts of Mozi and the Huainanzi, Zhurong is a god of fire. The Shanhaijing gives alternative genealogies for Zhurong, including the Yellow Emperor and Yan Emperor’s descent.
Shennong was a mythological Chinese ruler who has become a god in Vietnamese and Chinese folk religion. He is revered as a culture hero in Vietnam and China. In Chinese religions, Shennong taught the natives the use of the plow and medicinal plants, other features of primary agriculture, and a god of the burning wind (wildfire).
Agni is a Sanskrit word meaning fire and indicates Hinduism’s Vedic fire god. He is also the guardian deity and is typically found in the southeast corners of Hindu temples. In the ancient cosmology of the Indian religions, Agni as fire is one of the five inert impermanent elements (pañcabhūtá) along with water (ap), air (vāyu), space (ākāśa), and earth (pṛthvī), the five merging together to form life, as we know it.
Agneya means “Child of the Fire God” or “Daughter of the Fire God” and is derived from ancient Sanskrit texts and Hindu scriptures. Agni is the Hindu God of Fire, as mentioned above.
The literal work Agneya means “Consecrated from Fire” and “Born from Fire,” and the name traces its roots to early Vedic literature where Agneya is defined as a powerful and divine Goddess. In Hindu religion and spiritual texts, Agneya is known as the daughter born to Agni and Svaha.
Jowangshin is the goddess of fire and the home in Korean shamanism. As the hearth goddess, the rituals devoted to her were usually kept alive by housewives. Jowangshin was revered by the Korean population for millennia since the Proto Three Kingdoms period.
Amaterasu is the goddess of the sun in Japanese religion. One of the principal deities (kami) of Shinto, she is also represented in Japan’s oldest literary texts, the Nihon Shoki (720 CE) and the Kojiki (ca. 712 CE), as the ruler of the heavenly kingdom Takamagahara and the ancestress of the Japanese imperial house via her grandson Ninigi. Along with her family, the impetuous storm god Susanoo, and the moon deity Tsukuyomi, she is considered one of the “Three Precious Children.”
Hephaestus is the Greek god of volcanoes, fire, carpenters, blacksmiths, metalworking, artisans, metallurgy, and sculptors. Hephaestus’ Roman counterpart is called Vulcan. In Greek religion, Hephaestus was either Hera and Zeus’s son, or he was Hera’s parthenogenic child. He was thrown off Mount Olympus by his mom because of his malformation or, in another account, by Zeus for shielding Hera from his advances.
Logi is a jötunn and the representation of fire in the Norse religion. He is the son of the jötunn Fornjótr and the brother of Kári (‘wind’) and Ægir (‘sea’). Logi married fire giantess Glöð, and she bore him two daughters—Eimyrja and Eisa.
In Samoan religion, the religious figure Tiʻitiʻi Atalaga appears in stories very similar to those relating to the stories of the demigod Māui, found in other island histories. In one such account, which is almost identical to the New Zealand fire myth of Māui Tikitiki-a-Taranga, he ensues bringing fire to the Samoan people after a confrontation with the earthquake god, Mafui’e. During the battle, Ti’iti’i breaks off one of Mafui’e’s arms, forcing him to agree to teach him how the gods in individual trees had concealed fire during the formation of our earth.